Strychnos nux-vomica L.

Strychnos nux-vomica L.





Vernacular Names

English Nux-vomica tree, strychnine plant.
Cambodia slaêng, slaêng thom.
Laos 'sêng bua1 (Vientiane).
Thailand Krachee, tuumka daeng (central), salaeng thom (Nakhon Ratchasima).
Vietnam c[ur] chi (general), c[oo] chi (Khanh Hoa), m[ax] ti[eef]n.


Geographical Distribution

Strychnos nux-vomica is distributed from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China (Cambodia, Laos, southern Vietnam), Thailand and northern Peninsular Malaysia; introduced and locally naturalised in the Philippines (Mindoro).


S. nux-vomica is a small to medium-sized tree that can reach up to measure 25 m tall. The bole is up to measure 100 cm in diametre. The branches are not rough, yellowish-grey in colour, sometimes with axillary thorns and absent tendrils.

The leaves are broadly ovate to elliptical or suborbicular in shape, with a size of measure about 5-18 cm x 4-12.5 cm and with a measuring 5-12 mm long petiole.

The inflorescence is terminal on short axillary branchlets that usually with one pair of leaves and fairly with many-flowered. The petal is measuring 10-13 mm long. The tube is about 3 times longer than lobes and it sparsely woolly hairy in the lower half inside.

The fruit is spherical in shape, with a size of measure about 2.5-4(-6) cm in diametre and with 1-4-seeded.

The seeds are lenticular, orbicular to elliptical in shape, with a size of measure about 20-23 mm x 18-20 mm x 4 mm and they are densely sericeous.

Ecology / Cultivation

S. nux-vomica occurs often at the edge of dense forest, on river banks and along the shore, on loamy or loamy-sandy soil.

Line Drawing / Photograph



    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12 (1): Medicinal and poisonous plants.